Grip Training with "The Sleeves!"

Monday, December 31, 2007

I am fond of saying there are three simple pillars to my game. Grip Strength, Flexibility, and Conditioning.

We've already talked a little about my Conditioning practices in a prior post, tonight we are going to talk about Grip Training, specifically my BJJ Gi related grip training.

Before I get started, let's look at what the Wikipedia has to say about types of Grip Strength.

  • The crush grip is what is most commonly thought of as "grip". It involves a handshake-type grip, where the object being gripped rests firmly against the palm and all fingers. A strong crush grip is useful in bone-crushing handshakes or for breaking objects with pressure.
  • In a pinch grip, the fingers are on one side of an object, and the thumb is on the other. Typically, an object lifted in a pinch grip does not touch the palm. This is generally considered a weaker grip position. The pinch grip is used when grabbing something like a weight plate or lifting a sheet of plywood by the top edge.
  • A support grip typically involves holding something, such as the handle of a bucket, for a long time. This type of strength is epitomized by the "Farmer's walk", where the bucket is filled with sand or water, and carried over a long distance. A great deal of muscular endurance is necessary to have a good carrying grip.

Grip strength - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the BJJ Gi game grip is king, quite simply you can't submit what you can't hold. Crush and Support grip play a very important role in your success on the mat. It's not difficult to create non sport specific grip strength, a quick google search will reveal just less than 1/2 a million hits,
among them you'll find all manner of exercises, such as:
  • Plate Pinch Lifts
  • Wrist Curls
  • Farmers Walk
  • Etc,etc...
While good in their own right none of these exercises are sport specific to BJJ, quite simply, you need to build resistance gripping the Gi.

Now enter Grip Dominator Sleeves.

Essentially, Grip Dominator sleeves are Judo or Jiu-Jitsu Gi sleeves with high grade industrial strapping attached.

Last year, June in fact, I attended a Combat Training Seminar at The Institute of Human Performance. Since then, I've gotten to know JC Santana and his Grip Dominator sleeves and improved my BJJ game noticeably. Grip Dominator Sleeves (Image courtesy of

Grip Dominator sleeves can be attached to damn near anything, Kettlebells, Bands, Barbells, Pull-Up Bars, Gymnastics Rings, etc.

Think you can do a few Pull-Ups? Try doing them with the sleeves and see how many you can do. Unless you have tremendous grip I'm guessing that number will be smaller than your traditional pull-ups.

I had been using the sleeves in all manner of functional and traditional exercises for a few months, and while my Gi grip strength improved I wanted more opportunities to drill specific movements. In my opinion, this is where the Grip Dominator sleeves really shine, with a limited amount of time each week set aside for BJJ classes and sparring, I needed something more to practice technique and improve specific movements. That's how I came about the inspiration to develop a few simple BJJ sport specific exercises with the Grip Dominator Sleeves.

I've put together a short video to show off the exercises I use the sleeves for on a weekly basis. The end results have been dramatic, my collar choke game has become much stronger, as has my open guard. In fact, many evenings after class I come home and try to develop new sleeve based drills for techniques I've learned. Some work, some don't, but in the end I couldn't be happier with my investment.

If you want Grip Dominator Sleeves, order them at If they ask, tell them hazmat from WhiteCollarBJJ sent you.

Enjoy, Train Smart.


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